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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa is championing a campaign to inspire the population to embrace an active lifestyle, by walking, running or playing recreational sports to improve their health status. As more people heed the message and begin to take to all manner of exercises, the ever present possibility of sports injuries, resulting from lack of knowledge about proper exercise techniques to prevent injuries, come into sharp focus.

Sports Injury Rehabilitation Unit (SIRU)

Having sustained injuries, in the process, where do the active people go for therapy and for advice on the proper exercise techniques to prevent injuries? “Given the heavy patient load that hospitals have to deal with, patients often end up receiving treatment for pain and restoration of mobility. Our newly established Sport Injury Rehabilitation Unit (SIRU) works differently, as our approach to injuries is holistic and comprehensive, bringing on board allied disciplines such as human nutrition and orthopaedics. The SIRU prides itself for upholding the virtues of multi-disciplinary work and aim to, in the future, work with disciplines such as Human Nutrition and Orthopaedics, on board” said Mr Muhammad Dawood, the sports physio therapist, in charge.

Dawood added that the comprehensive management of injuries not only heals the aches that the patients suffer from, but it also offers biomechanical analysis. Based on the outcome of the analysis, the physios then design an exercise programme the patient must adhere to, in order to prevent the recurrence of such injuries, in future as well as optimize performance.

Operating during week days, from 08h00 to 17h00, SIRU has treated over 75 patients. Patients pay R100 and students R50 for which they receive attention from senior physiotherapy students, supervised by their lecturer, who acquire clinical exposure to a very wide spectrum of sports injuries the patients bring to the centre.

In less than three months in operation, the SIRU is making inroads among the SMU on campus community, the majority of whom are under 35. It is touching the lives of many outside the premises of the SMU, from all over Tshwane – recreational runners, soccer players and fitness enthusiasts from different parts of Tshwane, who got to know about it through word of mouth referral.

They present with a profile of injuries including; injuries resulting from poor training practices, traumatic injuries, overuse injuries and injured ligaments. It also prides itself for embracing evidence based treatment which is informed by research generated in the interaction with the critical mass of patients who have utilised its services. The SIRU will, in the future be producing high quality sport physiotherapy and rehabilitation research.